Microsoft has announced that its online productivity suite, Office 365, is now available for anyone to try out, as a public beta. The suite will be accessible in 38 countries across the world, and in 17 languages. Apart from the usual Microsoft Office programs like Word and PowerPoint, users also have access to Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and Microsoft Lync, for real-time collaboration. Protection comes via the ForeFront security client, and Microsoft promises 99.9% uptime for the service.
The full release of the product is expected later this year. Once that happens, Microsoft will charge different rates based on the size of the company using it.
SMBs with less than 25 employees get it cheap, at $6 a month per person, getting them Office Web Apps, as well as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.
Larger companies have more plans to choose from, each with different features, starting from $10 per month per person.
The launch of Office 365's beta is accompanied with a beta of Office 365 Marketplace, which helps users of Office 365 find a variety of apps and services from Microsoft and its partners. Log on to Office 365 here.